You probably know that the microbiome in your gut is a top influencer of your health, but did you know that your skin has its own microbiome? It does, and giving it the TLC it needs can help keep your skin in radiant, glowing shape.
“The skin microbiome is its own world of roughly a thousand species,” says Paul Schulick, master herbalist and founder of For The Biome (forthebiome.com), a company that makes skincare products to nourish the skin’s microbiome.
Although it’s similar to the gut microbiome in many ways, the skin microbiome is even more diverse. “There are different climates on your skin, from deserts to rainforests, and each one invites unique species,” says Schulick.
The Microbiome & Your Skin
All those skin microorganisms serve important functions, including:
- Balancing pH and supporting the moisture barrier that protects against sunlight and other environmental onslaughts.
- Producing neurotransmitters such as oxytocin.
- Producing beneficial substances such as hyaluronic acid (nature’s moisturizer, plumper-upper, and fine-line softener).
How to Feed Your Skin
There are several things you can do to nourish and protect your skin’s microbiome:
- Avoid harsh soaps or cleansers, as well as anything that contains antibacterial ingredients.
- If you use a loofah or are a fan of dry brushing, be gentle and brush about once a week to give your body time in between to recover.
- Shower or bathe with warm—not hot—water.
- For baths, add sea salts with minerals such as magnesium, or add a half-teaspoon of rosehip seed oil to a regular-sized tub. Other microbiome-supporting oils include amaranth, chamomile, and sea buckthorn.
- In skincare products, look for ingredients derived from nourishing sources such as aloe, oats, mushrooms, honey, and fruit and vegetable enzymes.
“Look at what you’re about to put on your skin and ask yourself, would I be willing to eat it?” says Paul Schulick, shown here with his wife Barbi. The couple is best known for starting New Chapter vitamins (which they later sold). Shulick’s new line includes microbiome-nourishing serums, masks, and cleansers.